Book One of the Phillip Lawson Saga

 This novel of the mechanized infantry in Vietnam is the first book in a series of two by combat-veteran author Bill Rambow.


Specialist Fourth Class Philip Lawson arrives in Vietnam after re-enlisting with the promise of assignment as a helicopter door-gunner. But when he arrives in country he is assigned as a replacement to a mechanized infantry ­company and his dreams of action in the sky over Vietnam evaporate in a haze of red dust and sweltering humidity.

Phil sets out with a youthful desire to prove not only who he is to himself, but also to earn the confidence and respect of the more experienced men around him. It’s not long before action finds him and he discovers the immense physical, psychological and mortal toll he must face to gain his comrades’ respect and quiet his own lurking fears.

The misery and daily quest for survival are leavened by the combat soldiers’ unbreakable bond, and a cast of eccentric pets and mascots that ride the M113 “tracks” with the mechanized grunts. But further complicating Phil’s life is the unexpected arrival in the combat zone of Captain Paul Lawson, the domineering older brother whose influence he has been trying to escape for years.

During his R&R in Sydney, though worried that the war may have forever hardened and brutalized him, Phil finds love and the promise of a bright new future—if he can survive his tour of duty. Ultimately he must fight alongside the hardened soldiers who will become his brothers, against an unseen and ruthless enemy to earn the coveted Combat Infantryman Badge.


Product Details (Softcover)





Book Two of the Phillip Lawson Saga

 The sequel to CIB - Combat Infantryman Badge - the conclusion of Philip Lawson's Tour of Duty.


With more than half of his tour of duty in Vietnam behind him Specialist Fourth-Class Philip Lawson starts looking to the future, to a time beyond war.  He begins to envision what awaits his life and with that greater questions emerge. He wonders what future he may have with Jane, the love of his life and where his post-war time may carry him.

Although ever-hopeful with Jane on his mind, he remains emerged in the hell that surrounds him where the ever-changing circumstances and seemingly randomness of combat continue to test his resilience. As his own fears are realized an old friend unexpectedly returns to the company after a brief stint in the world and his changed personality is unsettling. It haunts Phil and quickly threatens to plant the seeds of doubt in his mind.

Fortunately however he is soon offered a brief respite; a chance to honor a friend he nearly lost and an adventure back to the World where a surprise finds him that makes certain his life will never be the same. But lurking in the jungle on the other side of the world one final test waits that will challenge all he has learned about the meaning of brotherhood, love, family, and sacrifice.


Product Details  (Softcover)







REVIEWS  Excerpts from reader reviews at

"The story of this young man and his ups and downs was well written and the trials and tribulations of his company were laced with humor, heart, true grit and a bit of romance too."

"ROE and CIB, although fiction novels, paint the very real truth that being a Grunt in 1968 in Vietnam was no joke."

"An Infantryman myself, it's truly amazing to me that the thoughts and actions of the characters in this book so closely represent the men I have served with the past 19 years."

"More than anything I have ever read his picture of the brotherhood of combat soldiers is unforgettable. The man can write, CIB I believe is a classic."

"CIB - Vietnam War Fiction done well."

"CIB and ROE are top notch entertainment and real depictions of the Viet Nam war."

"Brought back a lot of Army memories and how the experienced and novice infantrymen survived. Held my attention and was very believable! "

"As good as it gets. Well written and full of action.  The characters are real and you can feel their triumphs and their pain. I loved it."

"I gave this book a full five stars because it was so difficult to put down. The characters, including the pets, were compelling and easy to love or hate as the story required."

"Emotions are front and center in this edge of your seat story. When you have turned the last page of this book, you will understand why the CIB is so significant to those who have earned the right to wear it."

"Great read. Bill Rambow obviously knows his "stuff" and is able to draw the reader into the book."

"Outstanding , kept you interested from start to finish."

"Great story about a soldier in Vietnam at the height of the war. Well written, intense and funny."

"I loved this book. I could hardly put it down. This is exactly what I want when I looking for a great war fiction. Highly recommended. "

"The author does a fabulous job of developing multiple characters and quickly gets you interested."




Bill Rambow, who grew up in Blue Island and Chicago, Illinois, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965. He served as an infantryman with C Company, 2-47th Infantry (Mechanized), 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam from March ’67 to March ’68. After a total of five years in the Army, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant at the age of 22, Bill was selected as one of the nation’s first “Sky Marshals” in 1971, flying aboard Eastern Airlines’ Boeing 747’s out of JFK International Airport in New York. During the course of a 34 year career with the U.S. Customs Service, he was an Inspector at Washington Dulles International Airport, then Port Director of Alexandria, Virginia, supervising the Customs facility at Andrews AFB for the last twenty years before his retirement in 2004. Bill now occupies his time as the webmaster for the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum of Reading, PA. and heads an international team of volunteers who develop computer flight simulator aircraft to benefit the museum. Bill enjoys kayak touring and camping on the islands of the Chesapeake Bay and lives with Vicki, his wife of 43 years, and a pack of Golden Retrievers in Laurel, Maryland.


Bill Rambow, the 20 year-old grunt, developing his first mustache and "thousand yard stare" on his first combat operation in Tay Ninh Province, RVN, 1967.

A few months later, Bill has been taught to drive the M113 and poses in the driver's hatch of Charlie 1-4.

As the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's webmaster and leader of the MAAM-SIM flight sim development team, Bill has been privileged to ride in some great old warbirds. This is the tail-gunner's position of the museum's award-winning B-25J Mitchell "Briefing Time".



U.S. Customs Port Director Bill Rambow shortly before his retirement poses with a fellow 9th Infantry Division "Old Reliable", veteran, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki at Andrews AFB, MD.  General Shinseki was appointed VA Director upon his retirement from the U.S. Army

Bill Rambow reunites in 2012 with MG David Zabecki, USA (Ret) at the US Naval Academy where Dave was doing a stint as Visiting Professor of Military History.  Bill and Dave arrived at C Co. 2/47th Infantry  as lowly enlisted men and fought side-by-side during the Tet Offensive.  See "The Real Panthers", below, for more on General Zabecki's remarkable career.

Touring kayak-camper Bill enjoying a Chesapeake sunset on one of the bay's tiny, deserted islets near Crisfield, MD.




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